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Groundhog in my yard...what to do? Are they harmless/harmful?

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by Swedishchef, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Hey guys

    I have noticed a groundhog hanging around my greenhouse (nothing grows in it, I store wood in the winter inside the greenhouse) and a couple of wood piles. It it about 80 feet from my house and this morning the little guy wondered within 20 feet of the house. Of course my 3 year old loves it...

    Now, I know that they are herbivores. However I am quite concerned about damage it can do to my property such as decks, siding, etc. ANd what if they dig into my septic lines/leach field/septic tank?? Am I paranoid (first time having a groundhog in my yard....) or are these possibilities?

    Thanks in advance!

    Andrew

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  2. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Wild animals wandering near your house and near people? Could be sick or rabid. Either way, kill it. Just this morning I killed a mole (groundhog of the NW) as he was making his way toward my garden.
  3. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I'd give it a dirt nap. They are pretty destructive little critters.
    Joful likes this.
  4. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    I've never heard of one damaging a septic tank but they certainly could. We had a mole tunnel under our pool (sand bottom with plastic liner) that caused havoc once. If you have a garden or ornamental plants and shrubs you care about you'll soon find out why they are so hated in some parts :eek: Rabies is a concern, but they are not nocturnal, so seeing one out in the daytime is not necessarily indicative of such. My dad shoots them a .22, but his property is conducive to that (no neighbors behind, neighbors to the side are far away), your situation might not be. There are lethal (Conibear, etc...) and non-lethal (Have-a-Heart) types. You could trap him with a Have-a-Heart and relocate him to a field somewhere, but A: that makes him someone else's problem, and B: you'd be surprised how far they'll travel to come "home." Also, if you have a dog, beware. Should your dog ever corner the little sucker as dogs are wont to do, they can be NASTY. I have seen dogs with chunks taken out of their nose by groundhogs simply because the dog smelled it out and started rooting into the den when Mr. Groundhog happened to be home. They may be herbivores by they can do quite a bit of damage with their claws and teeth.
  5. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    They are no bother, unless you have a garden. They can tunnel under things, but are unlikely to destabilize a foundation or anything.

    I have killed/composted many of them- but only for crop damage. Other concerns about them are overblown. Kill it- another will move in anyway. Just leave it be, IMO.
    Hearth Mistress likes this.
  6. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    If you have the option take it out. I've had them tunnel down next to the foundation And that caused some problems during heavy rains and spring thaws. Neighbor had a whole family living under their shed. took most of the summer but got every one of them with a combination of bow,air rifle - .22, & .22 rifle ( that was the best shot I have made in a long time, 80 yards off hand)
  7. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Highbeam: I do live in the woods so that makes it somewhat expected...I have simply never seen a groundhog around here. I just don't want it digging into my plastic septic tank! I saw him around the risers/lids eating grass.

    Lukem: thanks for the blunt answer :) I may be looking to borrow a riffle (sad, I don't own one...yet I am in law enforcement...kinda odd eh?)

    Badfish: there are no neighbors for 800 feet around me in either direction. :) Sorry to hear about the pool issue!

    Adios: I appreciate hearing "the other side of the coin". I may simply live trap and drive it out far into the woods.

    Blades: That is one thing i DO NOT WANT. SOme kind of tunnel straight down along my foundation to create some relatively good water pressure against the wall in a rainstorm....

    I will see if he comes back....

    Andrew
  8. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    That's interesting. I would expect they'd be all over Canada, but maybe the shorter growing season has something to do with it? Every spring here in the Northeast you see them munching along roadsides looking like giant ticks about to burst.

    If you do, paint his hind end with orange survey paint first (it will wash off eventually)-you may get a surprise ;)
  9. BrianK

    BrianK Guest

  10. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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  11. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Badfish: they are all over Canada. I have seen them often on roadsides, etc. Simply not in my back yard.

    Brian: thanks for the tips on Cantaloupe. I didn't know that.

    I just chased it to see where it went/lives. It lives in a friggin wood stack! I presume if I move it, A- I get bit B- He runs C- There's a nuclear bomb that goes off in my woodpile.

    Andrew
  12. BrianK

    BrianK Guest

    We have a ground hog in my back yard this summer. We've had several under our tool shed at my office for years. I could trap or kill them but I ignore them. If I had a small hunting type dog I would probably try to get rid of them. I've seen what they can do to a dog when cornered. Otherwise they are shy and generally run away as soon as they see or hear humans.

    Honestly they are nothing to be too concerned about unless they are destroying your garden or crops or their tunnels cause your draft horses to break a leg. Don't worry about it. If you want to trap it or dispatch it go right ahead but certainly don't worry over it. They're harmless for the vast majority of homeowners.
  13. hossthehermit

    hossthehermit Minister of Fire

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    Mmmmmmmmmm, Mmmmmmmmmm . Tastes like chicken ..................
  14. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    In all honesty they probably do taste good, given their diet. I'd rather eat a groundhog than a possum! :eek:
  15. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    We had one living under our back porch for a few weeks . . . I have a live and let live philosophy for the most part and since he wasn't bothering me, my wife, cats or what passed for a garden I let him live . . . but that said . . . I think he moved on shortly thereafter . . . maybe my cats scared him off.
  16. mattjm1017

    mattjm1017 Feeling the Heat

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    I would shoot it they are very destructive. Before I bought this house the previous owners were elderly and couldnt really get around to take care of things. The barn floor was destroyed by them and there was nothing but tunnels under one of the sheds and a dead groundhog. If I see one its going to meet the wrong end of my Henry 22
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    They don't last long around here. Do too much digging damage besides the eat the wrong things... Either trapping or shooting works well. We don't use iive traps though. Trouble with live traps is that most animals will just come back to their home range anyway so it isn't worth the time in most situations.
  18. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Not if I let it free in my friend's garage while he is away at work ;)

    I will see what happens in the next couple of days. My buddy said he will come shoot it for me (he has like 15 guns..) since I don't have a license. Nice of him! It sat in my backyard and ate grass/leave most of the evening. They have quite the hearing ability though!! He could hear me washing dishes at the kitchen sink!
    firefighterjake likes this.
  19. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Groundhogs are cute.

    When they're dead.
  20. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Had one close to the house one summer 5 or 6 years ago. Never did anything about him as I was working long hours. One Friday I finished up work early and was gonna head into town in my Camaro. Wouldn't start so I popped the hood and Mr Woodchuck was snacking on some wires. Got a stick and prodded him out. Bastage headed for my pickup and you guessed it,,,, pickup wouldn't start. By the time the carnage was over that phuqer cost me $1400 in wiring and coil packs !
    Woodchucks no longer have a shelf life of more than 3 or 4 sightings after the first on my property!!!
    Backwoods Savage and Swedishchef like this.
  21. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    One was in my garage, scared the the beejeezes out of my 6 year old daughter at the time ( it was a bit funny but also a bit dangerous as it was cornered). Air rifle made short work of it. They can mess a dog up real bad if the pup doesn't know how to handle them. They will protect their den to the enth degree. Where I reside ( wisconsin, usa) the touchy feelly groups got them protected, I have no idea what the rational for that was. any chucks on my place are dispatched asap do not give a damn about the state. They were vermin when I was on the farm still are.
  22. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    An air riffle will take care of one of those? They are pretty big for an air riffle, no??

    Andrew
  23. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    A good .177 caliber air rifle would do the job with a well placed (head) shot. They make .22 air rifles as well.
  24. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I need to send some of our groundhogs your way! I have had them do foundation damage on two separate structures, both old hand laid stone foundations.

    I trap them in a Have-a-Heart trap, and then they eat the muzzle of a .22 cal.
  25. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    You need something more than a standard Crossman 10 pump- a pellet from one of those won't do much to a groundhog, even with good placement.

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